Wednesday 18 December 2002 11.15am
Michael Caine is from around here... Here's some info about him. But there are plenty of others living and dead. George Orwell lived in Bermondsey; The Mayflower left from Rotherhithe; John Donne came from Peckham. Of course there's Borough Market
- at least 1,000 years old; and Southwark Cathedral
. And I'm a big fan of Tim Roth! I also heard Archbiship Desmond Tutu lived here for a while.
In the Forties, Michael Caine, then known as Maurice Mickelwhite could be found helping his dad shovel ice at Billingsgate fish market early on Sunday mornings. Sixty years on, Michael Caine is an internationally acclaimed actor with two Oscars, a CBE, a knighthood and a British Academy lifetime achievement award under his belt. The pop group Madness even wrote a top ten hit in the mid eighties named after him. Caine is a self-confirmed Londoner and apart from two years national service with the Royal Fusiliers in Korea and a several years in the U.S he has spent most of his sixty-nine years in the capital and a good part of his childhood in Southwark. Caine came from a working class south London family, born in 1933 in the charity wing of St Olaves' hospital in Rotherhithe, his father was a porter at Billingsgate fish market and his mother a charlady. The family moved to Camberwell when he was six months old and after evacuation to a farm in Norfolk during the Blitz, they were reunited in a two room gas lit flat with an outside toilet in Elephant & Castle where he shared a bedroom with his parents and brother Stanley, then, aged twelve he moved to East London. Deciding to become a Hollywood star aged fourteen, Michael escaped from the deprivations of his childhood through cinema and books and was nicknamed the “Professor”. Caine left school at sixteen and on return from the Army worked in several manual jobs while studying acting in the evening. Michael's big break was as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead in Zulu, which led to his first starring role aged thirty as the cockney hero, Alfie in 1966 and on to critical acclaim which has followed him through four decades.